Kunming turns one of China's most polluted lakes clear again

The water quality of Dianchi Lake in Kunming, capital of southwest China's Yunnan Province, is the best in 30 years, local authorities have said, in a concrete example of how cleanup efforts are paying off.

Dubbed as "Mother Lake" by locals, Dianchi Lake covers 10 percent of the city's total area, with more than 60 percent of the city's population of about five million, living in its basin.

Fast urban development and growing industrial activities in the last century spelled problems for the water body, with the lake becoming one of the most polluted in the country.

Local authorities have embarked on a mission to control pollution in the lake, and turn it back to its past glory.

Dianchi Lake of Kunming, southwestern China's Yunnan Province. /VCG Photo

Dianchi Lake of Kunming, southwestern China's Yunnan Province. /VCG Photo

Last month, the Kunming municipal government recruited more than 100 river chiefs, stewards responsible for protecting water resources and preventing pollution as part of a nationwide scheme, who will take on the responsibilities of overseeing illegal acts and launching publicity campaigns on pollution control of the lake.

"Now our people also joined the endeavor to tackle pollution of the Dianchi Lake," Wu Tao, vice mayor of Kunming, said. "They took the initiative to supervise our work, and showed us understanding and helped us to control pollution. Now we have created a desire to control pollution in the whole society."

A new sewage treatment plant has been built to the north of the lake and will collect and treat sewage from 73 hectares of land nearby. 

A seagull flies over the Dianchi Lake. /VCG Photo

A seagull flies over the Dianchi Lake. /VCG Photo

The recovery of aquatic plants, animals and birds are the best evidence of water quality improvement.

"The glossy ibis and garganey that have disappeared for a long time have returned to the Dianchi Lake in recent years," said Wu Chaoyang, the deputy director of the Dianchi Lake Management Bureau.

(Cover image by VCG)